Patriarch Sako Led the Ordination Ceremony of Bishop Imad Khoshabeh as Archbishop of Tehran
Patriarchate media Center
His Beatitude Patriarch Louis Raphael Card. Sako led the episcopal ordination ceremony for the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Tehran, Mar Imad Khoshabeh Girgis, on Friday morning, November 10, 2023, at the Mar Eith Alaha Cathedral in Dohuk.
Chaldean bishops from Iraq, Iran, Turkey and America participated in the ceremony, in the presence of His Excellency the Apostolic Ambassador to Iraq, Archbishop Matjia Leskovar, some bishops of sister churches, and official representatives from the Kurdistan Regional Government: the representative of Mr. Masoud Barzani, the representative of Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, His Excellency Minister Ano Johar, and Dr. Siwan Barzani, the Iraqi ambassador to Italy. Mr. Charlie Anwyia from the Iranian Shura Council, a delegation from the Iranian Consulate in Erbil, a number of priests, nuns, monks, and a large gathering of faithful as well as the relatives of the ordained bishop.
Below is the text of H. B. Patriarch Sako’s speech:
Homily of His Beatitude Patriarch Sako at the Ordination of the New Archbishop for Tehran- Iran
Bishop, is a man of God, a servant, pays attention to his folks accompany them, and defend them all
Blessings and heartfelt congratulations to you and the Chaldean diocese of Teheran. This is a day of joy for our Church. I am pleased to welcome all bishops, priests and officials for being with us on such a special day. We will keep you in our prayers that the Holy Spirit guide you in the new role of service at the Diocese of Tehran in our neighboring country, Iran. I hope that your presence among daughters and sons of this ancient Diocese will thrill them as it will pleases Christ’s heart.
Furthermore, I would like to emphasize to you and to all bishops and priests the importance of adhering to the clear Episcopal and Priesthood leadership concepts, especially that I have just returned back from participating in the First Phase of Bishops’ Synod on Synodality in Rome (4 – 29 October 2023). I believe that its’ outcome will be the turning point in the history of the Church and will change many traditional concepts.
Concepts listed below are for our protection as well as forming a basis for you to succeed in your new role and will definitely contribute to Church progress.
- Being a bishop is not a prestige, domination, limited to management and administration, or a way to gain personal and family privileges, but a living faith, which include: personal relationship with Christ; prayer; teaching, serving community through dialogue; listening to the Holy Spirit and to faithful; activating their role; and respecting their dignity.
- Bishop’s authority is, first and foremost, to serve with sincerity, fairness, according to the spirituality of Christ’s service and teachings, so that he can give “the Spirit” to the faithful. Authority should be used to help faith grow by serving people with love, honesty and integrity. Bishop’s authority shouldn’t be a personal impulse, which means chaos that will never ever build the Church or a society.
- Bishop must be clear in his thoughts, words, stances, and transparent honest, and have no tendency to make money, since money is “the devil which interfere via the pocket”. Bishop should not sit at the corner of the Church as a “solo” worshipper. In contrary, his presence should be distinctive and effective inside and outside the Church.
- Bishop is a father for everyone, pays attention to everyone, especially poor and oppressed, understands their fears, hopes, aspirations, follows up on their needs, and resolves crises as much as possible with love and wisdom. Bishop must march with faithful with great love, amazing energy, and harmony, in order to grow with them, using a humble and honest tone in speaking, rather than harsh, dry or arrogant one. Every bishop in the Church is not for his community only, but for all Christians and all people. Expected to be open-minded, loving father, supporting, cooperating and defending their rights, and dignity. Frankly, I do not understand extremism, in particular, the authoritative tendencies of some Churchmen, which is neither in line with the spirituality of the Gospel nor with Pope Francis’ call for synodality to renew forms and roles of service in the Church by encouraging participation of lay people at different roles and finding an understandable language.
- Bishop is a servant of sharing and participation, not a “superman” to do everything by himself. He must believe in talents of others, share his responsibility and service with them, especially priests, and rather than discouraging them. Since priests and lay people love their Church and are partners in it, so he must work with them to prosper his diocese and ultimately his Church.
- Bishop is a man of prayer and absolute trust in divine providence. Being the successor of the apostles, he must make apostolic continuity an approach to his life. He is also a man of hope, as Saint Ignatius of Antioch says. He must have the ability to listen and discern the signs of the times wisely.
In this context, I would like to share with you, my personal experience. Ten years ago, when I was elected as a patriarch, I avoided a well-known political party relying on my logic. They tried to subjugate me along these years, but I stood firm for the sake of the Church and the Christians. Hence, I am paying the price. However, personal injustice is nothing compared to the importance of maintaining our Church as strong as possible, holding its head high proudly, refusing to be sold out, taking the lead to truth and common good. We have God and they have the President!
Usually, bishops and priest have a strong vision and enthusiasm in the beginning, but unfortunately it may start declining with time “for some” unless they learn how to renew it every day.
On this occasion, I extend my thanks and gratitude to the Kurdistan Regional Government for embracing and protecting Christians and non-Christians within its territories. I wish them continued progress and prosperity.
Finally, I would like to conclude with the need to pray together for the protection of civilian lives at the Holy Land by ending all military operations there. I urge people of conscience and good well around the world to stop this brutal war, so the region won’t be drawn into an inclusive war, wishing that ending this conflict will result in setting up two safe and stable neighboring states.
May God bless the new bishop and bless us all